meditation online

  • Bring in the Spring: 10 Tips to Shift into the Season

    Today marks the official dawn of spring! Sure, it may not feel very spring-like. It snowed in North Carolina last week, and I know it's still cold in a lot of places. Winter is sometimes slow to release her chilly grip. Even still, I know spring is upon us. The sun feels a bit warmer when it touches my skin. The days are brighter. The energy is up! Yes, yogis, spring is here. Even if it hasn’t made itself totally obvious yet.

    Since we are seasonally shifting, it’s important to make some minor lifestyle changes. It’s time to let go of your wintery ways and change in accordance with the season to stay balanced and happy!

    Spring is a season of warmth, moisture, and softness. The heat from the sun is now awakening the vibrancy and beauty of all life that was lying dormant during winter (including yourself, perhaps). Even so, this season can be problematic for some. Spring is also a season of colds, sinus congestion, and allergies. To avoid these typical spring occurrences, it’s important to emphasize internal spring cleaning.

    Spring Guidelines:

    1. Eat a lighter diet.
    2. Take on some sort of cleansing program. Kitchari cleanses are a really nourishing way to cleanse while still getting plenty of food.
    3. Start to wake up earlier. Rise with the sun!
    4. Declutter and rearrange your space to best support yourself in this season. What do you use, what do you need each day? What can be donated, sold, or put away until it gets cold out again?
    5. Say goodbye to all napping unless you're sick or pregnant. I'm serious. Napping causes stagnation.
    6. As it really begins to heat up, take measures to keep cool. Practice cooling forms of yoga, such as yin yoga. (Sort by style and find all of our online yin yoga classes). Practice cooling forward folds. Take a refreshing dip.
    7. Take time to appreciate the reawakening of nature. Take nature walks. Go on a long hike. Take your laptop or tablet outside and practice yoga outdoors. Observe all the new life emerging. New sprouts. New blooms and blossoms. New, vibrant energy. Embrace it all!
    8. Since there will be a lot of action going on outside, set aside time for introspective activities, such as meditation or writing. We offer an awesome collection of online meditation classes. Please check them out! Reserve time for stillness.
    9. Do some emotional housekeeping and cleaning. How are you feeling? Are you holding on to anything you should be releasing? Are you happy? Self-reflect.
    10. Practice detoxifying, renewing yoga classes. Think twists, twists, and more twists. To find all of our twisting online yoga flows, sort by Focus.

    Spring these balancing tips into action. Be full of the joys of spring.

  • 15 Yoga Practice Tips & Strategies for the Holidays

    Maintaining a yoga practice during the holidays can get tricky. We tend to eat heavy, drink heavy, and play heavy. Mix in kids and travel and it becomes that much more difficult to hit the mat. Yes, difficult...but not impossible.

    Here are some tips and strategies to ensure you maintain a little mat action amidst all the holiday madness:

    1. Get family members, friends, and visitors on board. Commit to a class or practice yoga at home together. You can even include the kids with this practice by Lindsey Valdez!
    2. Keep your mat unrolled on the floor at home as a reminder and invitation to practice a short asana sequence, meditation, pranayama technique, or a brief, yet blissful savasana.
    3. Read a book on Ayurveda and food. I highly recommend The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook. This book will inspire clean eating, a health-conscious lifestyle, and maybe some creativity in the kitchen.
    4. Drink warm water and lemon every morning to keep the system alkalized and promote digestion.
    5. Stay hydrated!
    6. Eat in moderation.
    7. Enjoy plenty of rest so food can digest properly.
    8. Cleanse and detox the body with some sweet, long twisting poses. Enjoy these online yoga classes, focusing on twisting postures:
    9. Inhale deeply, exhale fully. This mantra becomes especially effective if you are dealing with confrontational family members or traveling with rambunctious kids. Repeat as much as needed to remind yourself to breathe. Infuse your experience with some deep Ujjayi breathing, as well.
    10. Take extra long walks.
    11. Leave the holiday parties before things get too wild.
    12. Practice a short meditation every day to soak up the moment and facilitate stillness and calm. Enjoy our abundance of online meditation videos.
    13. Infuse some grounding restorative postures into your home sequence. Check out these short practices (under 15 minutes) for inspiration.
    14. Cut yourself some slack and have a good time with friends and family. Adjust your practice accordingly. It is just a few days out of the year, so no harm done if you break your normal patterns of practice.
    15. Lighten up, enjoy the festivities, have a restful and merry Christmas Day, and live fully in each moment.

    What practice tips and strategies do you suggest for the most wonderful time of the year?

    ~TJ

  • Grow a (Yoga) Spine!

    Is your spinal health something you give much thought? Most often, spinal health takes a back seat. We mind our spines only in the aftermath of something gone wrong. Let’s not, however, allow it to reach that point. Let’s, instead, take our spines to yoga.

    Yoga is a blessing to the spine. Supporting strength, flexibility, mobility, and proper alignment, yoga helps to prevent spinal degeneration and potential injury. Maintaining a diligent, mindful yoga practice will render your spine strong and healthy, and also, enhance your total state of health.

    Spinal health is a solid indicator of overall well-being and vigor. In yoga, the spinal column is referred to as Brahma-danda, which literally translates as “the walking stick of God.” This implies that the spine is pretty darn important. According to master teachers, "A Yogi is one whose spine is full of energy."

    Spine

    Yogis consider the spine to be a channel through which the power of the universe may manifest. It is through Sushumna Nadi, the central channel within the spinal column, that the potent Kundalini energy rises from its dormant state at the base of the spine to the crown of the head.

    The Sushumna, the most essential Nadi (channel), plays the most important role in the expansion of our intellectual, moral, and spiritual journey. It is the path through which our vital energies travel upward, resulting in self-realization, union with the divine, and enlightenment or nirvana. When your chakras are balanced and aligned, a current of Kundalini energy is free to flow and flourish through this channel.

    Because of this upward movement of energy, it is important to maintain a "yoga spine" during a meditation practice. Remaining vertical and erect is paramount to facilitate this vertical surge of energy. Asanas are intended to support the development of a yoga spine. By strengthening and realigning the spine, an asana practice will help prepare you for a deeper, sustained meditation experience.

    To set up a strong yoga spine, practice this new online meditation with Jeanne Heileman. Grow tall and strong. Realign. Awaken your energy.

    Sushumna: Centering the Energy Along the Spine - This online yoga video is great to practice after the Twisting: Balancing the Nadis class and can also be used after most yoga classes or on its own. Start laying down to transition from mental and physical activity, using a Tantric Technique called 61 Points to shift the mind's focus. Sitting in a straight and aligned position, the pranayama technique of Nadi Sodhana is practiced into a Tantric Technique of Prana Shuddhi, a method of developing concentration that allows for meditation. Play with the energy in the spine. Bring awareness to that energy in a calm, enjoyable process. (34 mins.)

    Jeanne Heileman

    ~TJ

     

  • 5 Ways to Let Go

    releasing expectation

    If there’s one thing yoga has drilled into me time and time again it is this: Release expectation. People and situations will disappoint you. Some individuals will get off on seeing you wounded, flailing, or failing. These people will be strangers, mentors, and sometimes, they will even be those with whom you've deeply entrusted your friendship. It doesn’t matter. In the larger scheme of things, it’s not really about these people. Let them do as they will. Let them think what they wish. If you really know yourself, you have all the tools you need to take these punches and to freakin’ take them with grace. And after you take the heat, all you can do is let it go. Then, you put up a fight for the things in life that truly matter. You do you and you do it well. And you never, EVER let them see you sweat (off the mat, of course).

    Yes, this is easier said than done.

    Yes, this takes practice.

    Yes, this requires you choose to perceive this all as ultimately positive.

    How do you do that? What can you do to rebound from disappointment or pain? What can you do when people dish out these emotional punches or stings? How do you avoid letting your anger intervene? How do you confront the situation with grace? How do you let it go?

    1. Breathe. First and foremost, breathe. Practice pranayama. Breath of Fire is a powerful tool to expel overwhelming thoughts and any underlying anxieties you are feeling.
    2. Consider this a message. The universe, whether you realize it or not, is incredibly intelligent. If you have up to this point led with integrity and done your best to bring positive, clean energy into all of your experiences, the universe is most likely looking out for you here. Maybe this unfortunate event is simply a door closing to open a new one. Instead of mourning this loss, consider the new opportunities that are now awake. What will this situation open up for you?
    3. Control your reaction. This, at the end of the day, is the only thing you can count on: Your reaction in the face of a problem. Choose a reaction that you won’t look back on and regret. Choose the higher path. Choose rationality, calm, and discretion. Choose wisely in the emotions you reveal. Choose to view this “bad” situation as a "good" one in disguise. Choose to dwell in possibility, not negativity.
    4. Concentrate on your most important relationship: The one you have with yourself. This should be your priority. Observe how you are responding in the face of these punches. How are these stimuli influencing you? Watch yourself. Be an observer on your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions. All of this will create space between you and whatever is going on. A good way to take this watchfulness approach is to meditate. Meditation reveals all of the garbage. Gradually, it allows you to empty out the mental trash and rid yourself of things that are an incredible waste of your energy and space.
    5. Forgive. Don’t give this person or situation any more power over you than they are worth. Forgiveness is powerful because it releases the toxic energy that you share with this person or situation. Holding onto anger and other feelings and emotions will just add flame to the fire. It gives this person or thing great power over you and your thoughts whether you recognize it or not. Forgive it to free it.

    Letting s**t go is tough, yet it is well within your power. You have the power to allow what will and will not get to you. You have the power to open new doors. You have the power to view bad situations as opportunities. Don’t let the bad and the ugly saturate your experience and detract from all of the good. Because the bad and the ugly happen for a reason. If you can stop obsessing over it and consider it all a blessing in disguise, you will be in a place of security and strength. You will come out on top and that much stronger.

    Let it go. Let it all go.

    ~Tess

  • Work Your Third Eye with Jeanne Heileman

    What is the Third Eye?

    In yoga, the Third Eye refers to the Ajna Chakra located in between and right above the eyes. This chakra holds your imaginative and intuitive power.

    This chakra is believed to be a gate that, once opened and balanced, leads the way to an elevated consciousness. It is, very simply, an energy channel involved in perceiving the world beyond the physical realm.

    ajna chakra

    What happens when the Third Eye is outta whack?

    If the energy of the Third Eye is spinning ferociously, headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and difficulty concentrating may result. On the flip side, if the energy of this center is weak, poor memory, eye problems, deficient pattern recognition, and poor visualization may result.

    How do you tap into its power? How do you get the Third Eye energy spinning efficiently?

    There are many methods. To get you going, here are two special online yoga practices with Jeanne Heileman to cultivate your inner eye awareness.

    The Third Eye: A Practice Working with Inner Awareness

    Join Jeanne's students for a strong workout that opens up a whole new world on the inside. This well-rounded practice moves you in a flow sequence from Sun Salutations into Standing Poses, into Arm Balances and Backbends, cooling down with Reclining Forward Folds. What makes this online yoga class special is the attention to the Sixth Chakra, the inner, Third Eye. It is said that when we close our outer eyes, the inner Third Eye can begin to awaken and see the light that dwells within ourselves. It takes time and practice. This class will not only show you how to start to access this inner light, but give you tips on the journey. The students in this video reported that they loved the experience and found it amazingly powerful. (78 mins.)

    third eye yoga practice

    If you have time, follow up this Vinyasa flow with Jeanne’s powerful meditation practice:

    Third Eye Meditation using Prana Dharana

    This online meditation is from a lineage of teachers in the Himalayan Mountains, brought to Jeanne from her grand-teacher, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. Using a technique that he taught her in his Living Tantra Training, you will learn a special Pranayama to heighten the access to the Third Eye, increasing the amount of Prana (Life Force) you are able to gather and maintain in that region. Once that gathering is established, you will be guided where to move this amazing ball of Prana, to help you in the direction you need most. This is a powerful practice and worth repeating to improve your ability to build Prana and then keep it inside. (24 mins.)

    third eye

    ~Tess

    Photo Credit: Ajna Chakra by HarmonyUniverse

     

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